Monday, November 23, 2015

1975 Profile: O.J. Simpson

Running Back
No. 32
"O.J. is the leading active rusher in the National Football League and sixth on the NFL's list of all-time top ground gainers. His total of 6,306 career yards is topped only by Jim Brown, 12,312 yards; Jim Taylor, 8,597; Joe Perry, 8,378; Leroy Kelly, 7,374; and John Henry Johnson, 6,803.
He gained 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season [1,125] in 1974- he's one of only six runners to achieve this feat. Simpson was third in the league rushing ranks (behind Otis Armstrong at 1,407 and Don Woods at 1,162) after leading in the same department in 1972 and 1973. He topped the 100-yard rushing figure in four games last fall, pushing his lifetime total to 24 and ranking him fourth behind Brown (58), Kelly (27) and Taylor (26).
Simpson sprained an ankle in the opening game against Oakland after gaining 78 yards in less than a half and was bothered by the injury for a number of weeks. His best statistical performance of 1974 was at Baltimore where he gained 127 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown. He had his busiest day of 1974 against New England, carrying 32 times for 132 yards, and rang up his first touchdown pass reception since his rookie season when he combined with Joe Ferguson on a 29-yard scoring play against New England- O.J. is Buffalo's seventh-leading pass receiver of all time with 109 catches for 1,101 yards.
O.J. owns seven different National Football League rushing records and 16 separate Buffalo Bills club marks. His NFL standards, all established in 1973, include: most rushing yards, season- 2003; most rushing yards, single game- 250 (against New England 9/16/73); most rushing attempts, season- 332; most games 100 or more yards rushing, season- 11; most consecutive games 100 or more yards rushing- seven; most games 200 or more yards rushing, season- three; and most consecutive games 200 or more yards rushing- two. O.J. carried 39 times against Kansas City in 1973 to establish a record, broken last season by Lydell Mitchel of Baltimore. He needs one more 200-yard game to match Jim Brown's standard of four.
His honors in 1973 included the AP and UPI awards as the league's Most Valuable Player, AP Male Athlete of the Year, the Hickock Belt as professional athlete of the year by the largest landslide in the history of the award, Maxwell Club Bert Bell Award, Sporting News Man of the Year, the Dunlop Pro-Am prize as pro athlete of the year and the NEA Jim Thorpe Memorial Trophy as NFL Player of the Year. Simpson was back and player of the year in the opinion of Pro Football Weekly.
He repeated as a consensus All-Conference and All-Pro selection in 1974. Four touchdowns last fall pushed his career total with Buffalo to 33 rushing and 38 overall, one behind Bills all-time leader Elbert Dubenion. O.J.'s career scoring total includes a 95-yard touchdown on a kickoff return against the Jets on October 4, 1970.
O.J.'s highest single game average was 10.0 (219 yards on 22 attempts) against New England at Orchard Park. He has never scored more than two touchdowns in a single game. He had his poorest effort as a pro against Baltimore on October 10, 1971 when he wound up with minus 10 yards on seven trips. O.J.'s best efforts have been against New England, a team he has punished for 1,142 yards and nine touchdowns in eight games. His 94-yard run against Pittsburgh on October 29, 1972 is a Buffalo record. He finished '74 with 49 yards on 15 carries in the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Steelers at Pittsburgh, his only appearance in postseason play as a professional. O.J. played in three straight Pro Bowl games. He was MVP in the 1973 Pro Bowl with 112 yards on 16 carries.
He reached the 1,000-yard level for the first time in 1972, leading the NFL with 1,251 yards on 292 trips. O.J. missed one game in his rookie season and sat out the final six games of 1970 with an injury but has played in 56 straight league outings since. His rushing totals were 697 as a rookie, 488 in an injury-shortened 1970 season and 742 in 1971. He must also be feared as a pass receiver and option passer; he threw a touchdown pass (two yards) to J.D. Hill against the Jets on September 17, 1972. Simpson was the first player picked in the 1969 pro draft and has been the Bills' offensive captain for the past two years.
Simpson was voted College Athlete of the Decade. A brilliant athlete for John McKay's USC Trojans, he destroyed 13 Southern California records in an abbreviated two-year varsity career. He gained 3,423 rushing yards for SC on 674 carries and established an NCAA rushing record in his senior season with 1,709 yards. O.J. averaged 164.4 yards per appearance in 19 regular season games as a collegian.
O.J. carried a record 47 times (for 220 yards and three touchdowns) in SC's 1968 win over Stanford. He gained 299 yards in two Rose Bowl appearances. He more than doubled the vote of runner-up Leroy Keyes in the 1968 Heisman Trophy balloting and was a unanimous two-time All-America choice. Simpson ran sprints for the USC track team and was a member of SC's world record 440-yard relay team (38.6 seconds) in 1967. He majored in public administration as an undergraduate.
Simpson attended the City College of San Francisco for two seasons before enrolling at Southern California. He rolled up 54 touchdowns and 2,445 rushing yards (on 259 carries) in junior college and was a two-time junior college All-American. He went to Galileo High School in his native San Francisco.
He worked during the off-season as a weekend commentator on ABC-TV's Wide World of Sports. Simpson spent a month in Capetown, South Africa filming an upcoming motion picture also starring Telly Savalas, Peter Fonda and Jack Palance. He previously impressed in 'The Klansman' and 'The Towering Inferno,' films released during the 1974 season.
O.J. won $54,000 and the title of 'Superstar, 1975' in the popular ABC Television sports competition. He racked up 47 1/2 points in the Superstars finals with firsts in the 100-yard dash (6.9) and bowling (185) segments.
O.J. is honorary chairman of the 1975 New York State Cancer Crusade and an active participant in the national and local fight to conquer cancer. Baseball standout Ernie Banks is a second cousin. O.J.'s real name is Orenthal James and his hobbies include playing cards and tennis."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

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